Ford's Jari-Matti Latvala
has warned that tyre selection could be 'tricky' on Wales Rally GB next week due to the amount of soft and hard compound tyres the drivers are allowed to use.
Each of the top drivers will have a choice of 30 soft tyres and 22 hard tyres during the event, although only a total of 35 can be used, and that could lead to some interesting strategic choices, depending on what the weather does.
“One of the big decisions will be tyre selection. In the dry we should use Michelin's hard compound rubber, especially as the surface in some forests is abrasive. But the allocation we're allowed means we can't do that for the entire rally, so it will be tricky to know when to use soft tyres and when to use harder rubber,” he explained.
Latvala won Rally GB last year and he will be hoping he can successfully emulate that feat next Sunday, although he knows that with the event shifting date from November to September, conditions could be more benign. Indeed there is some talk this could be the fastest Rally GB ever.
“We're used to winter conditions here so if it stays dry then the characteristics of the event will change considerably. In dry weather the roads will give good grip and speeds will be high,” he continued.
“In winter it's important to identify muddy sections. If it's drier it's not necessary to pay so much attention to the surface, but I'll need to concentrate harder in corners because the car will carry more speed.
“Logs are another hazard in Britain. They are often piled high on the side of the road and clipping one can break the suspension and end the day immediately.
“I enjoy driving on narrow, fast, flowing roads like these though, and it is one of my favourite rallies,” he concluded.